Bugs are beautiful but misunderstood creatures. They are fragile, yet powerful. Bugs tend to swarm their enemies to make up for their lack of size. As you will hopefully confirm after reading this entry, this is the case in Monotype as well. Bugs rely on fast, powerful attacks to overcome their lack of defensive stats and resistances. For one to use Bug-Type Pokemon you must have a pure heart and noble personality.
Bugs take practice to use well or to even fit on a standard team. They have a Stealth Rock weakness and don’t have many particular resistances except perhaps Ground. Still, Bug switch-ins occur typically by virtue of the secondary typing that usually patches up some of its weaknesses. For example, Bug/Steel is a solid typing that has only one weakness (x4 to Fire), several key resistances and removes the Stealth Rock weakness. One of the things that has been ubiquitous since Generation 4 is the use of the move U-Turn. When used well, it is essentially a free double switch that causes damage. While the momentum it gets is the key component of the move, having a strong Attack Stat coupled with STAB only makes it better. Throughout many tiers there are few users that excel as U-Turners for the aforementioned reasons.
Additionally, the introduction in Generation 5 to the move Quiver Dance gave all the moth Pokemon a much better Calm Mind. Adding +1 to SpAtk, SpDef AND Speed at no cost made a lot of forgotten mons viable again (Venomoth) and helped others to become great threats (Volcarona). Most of the Quiver Dancing moths that have seen play in different tiers are viable because they have a good secondary STAB to use. For example, Volcarona makes use of its fire attacks more than it needs its Bug STAB. Vivillon benefits from a Compound Eyes boosted 97% accurate Sleep Powder to help set up but it is a higher accuracy STAB Hurricane what makes it really dangerous.
Finally, Bug Pokemon have access to all entry hazards available which makes them really dangerous in offensive teams if they are allowed to set up.
By the Numbers
# of Pokemon with this type: 77
# of Fully Evolved Pokemon: 38 (with Four Mega Forms)
2x super effective against: Psychic, Dark, Grass
Effective against: Normal, Bug, Water, Electric, Rock, Dragon, Ice, Ground
2x resisted by: Poison, Ghost, Steel, Flying, Fire, Fairy, Fighting
Ineffective against: None
2x weak against: Fire, Rock, Flying
Damaged normally by: Normal, Water, Electric, Dragon, Ice, Poison, Ghost, Fairy, Steel, Bug, Dark, Psychic
2x resistant to: Ground, Fighting, Grass
Immune to: None
Physical – U-Turn, X-Scissor, Leech Life, Lunge, Bug Bite, First Impression
Special – Bug Buzz, Silver Wind
Status – Quiver Dance
Buginium-Z does not deserve any special mention since Bug as an offensive type is resisted by half of the chart. Bugs have better Z-crystals to use that use secondary STABs or coverage moves like Z-Firium for Volcarona or Z-Fightium for Buzzwole.
Type in OU
In OU, the roles of Bug Pokemon are limited. The only viable bugs are used for their secondary STAB.
A prime example of this is the hot Pokemon right now, the fiery moth itself, Volcarona. Volcarona has benefit a lot from this gen because its checks are almost nonexistent in this meta. The few checks it still have are burst into flames with a +1 Inferno Overdrive, a powerful nuke that allows Volcarona to sweep through teams like a flame on powder. Watch for this monster when laddering in OU, as it is extremely popular right now due to the fairy/steel metagame.
M-Pinsir was introduced last gen and it is still a great offensive threat. What makes it so good is its versatility. It can be a late game cleaner, an early game wallbreaker, a revenge killer, etc. Aerilate gives him a boosted Flying STAB that after a Swords Dance set up, only needs one coverage move to be effective. The choice of Close Combat or Earthquake really depends on the team and what type of walls it wants to take out. This gen, it can be seen a lot on Sticky Web teams. This creates a great synergy because webs allow M-Pinsir to outspeed frail speedy attackers such as Tapu Koko or M-Alakazam and, at the same time, M-Pinsir puts a lot of pressure to common defoggers like Tapu Fini.
M-Scizor was neglected at first, because the opportunity cost was too pricey with other great megas available such as M-Alakazam or M-Metagross. Moreover, the abundance of Tapu Lele initially made its moveset rather limited since Bullet Punch was negated due to the effects of Psychic Terrain preventing priority moves. Furthermore, Genesect was favored as a faster, more versatile U-Turner early in the gen before being banned from OU. Now that the meta is shaping up, M-Scizor has seen a small rise in usage mainly to serve as an answer to M-Metagross, as the standard set walls it very comfortably.
Last but not least, Pheromosa is the definition of glass canon. With pitiful defenses it rarely survives any moderate attack, but it more than compensates its frailty with huge attack stats and one of the fastest speed stats in the game. Coupled with its ability, Beast Boost, Pheromosa makes a superb cleaner. Although it was originally nicknamed Deoxys-R (for Roach), for its similarities, Pheromosa lacks a wide movepool and is easily revenge killed by virtually any priority move. It requires powerful wall breakers for her to be effective.
As previously mentioned, all of these are mons that belong in offensive teams and should be used aggressively for optimum performance.
Type in Mono
Mono-Bug is somewhat less viable than in Generation 6 due to the massive over-centralization caused by Mono-Steel. Bug has lost its great “cover-all” versatility and now it has to over prepare for Steel, thus leaving it more susceptible to Fairy and Water teams. The lack of Heracronite and even Beedrillite has also limited the offensive options for Bug. Nevertheless, Bug is still a good type in the current meta and it has gotten a few interesting options.
First of all, the addition of Z moves allow for a heavily offensive type to put more pressure onto its typical checks. Z-Fightinium Buzzwole can remove Skarmory or Celesteela easily and pave the way for the rest of the bug squad. Inferno Drive Volcarona can also destroy types muscling its way through common walls.
When it comes to new additions, Araquanid stands out as it provides a nice fire switch in and a previously nonexistent Water STAB. Not only that, with its ability Water Bubble in consideration, a Liquidation hits really hard and has a nice chance of dropping the opponent’s defense one stage. It is also conveniently blessed with a great SpDef to help take fire attacks. Araquanid has quickly become a staple on many Bug teams and with good reason.
Buzzwole not only shares typing but also a similar ability with Heracross which raises the question of overlapping roles. But a further look into their stats and movepool show that they are more different than it seems at first glance. Buzzwole is physically bulkier but slower while Heracross has better special defense and is faster. Additionally, Heracross has access to powerful 120 STABs in Close Combat and Megahorn. Buzzwole’s STABs make him play differently, since his options are Focus Punch, Hammer Arm or Superpower for Fighting and Leech Life for Bug. This gives the flexibility of playing a bulkier set with Buzzwole with the ability to tank physical attacks better. It is also noteworthy that Buzzwole has acess to elemental punches that Heracross lacks. Indeed, Ice Punch and Thunder Punch are great assets to differentiate itself from the stag beetle.
Finally, Vikavolt was initially very welcomed as it boasts a massive 145 SpAtk with a nice slow Volt Switch that complements the many U-Turners the type has. However, the speed and average defensive stats holds him back and although its movepool is not bad at all, once again the low speed means he will usually take a hit before attacking, making him less reliable than other special attackers. An Agility set can patch up the speed but it will still be unable to outspeed common scarf users in the meta. If you still want to give him a try, equip it with a Choice Specs and go to town. It usually wrecks Ground and Water types with its good coverage.
Type in Other Metas
In Ubers, many mons share a Psychic typing. This is of course advantageous if you have a strong, powerful Bug Pokemon on your team. Genesect and Pheromosa are both great U-Turners that have nice coverage for the rest of the tier (read Ice Beam for Dragons). Unfortunately, Bug is resisted by the most influencial mon in the tier: P-Groudon. Still, both bugs have good usage and are seen in hyper offensive teams that have a way to pressure P-Groudon.
While other metas are still shaping up, typically Bug Type Pokemon stand out as the steel Pokemon become scarce. Last gen, Vivillon and Scyther were pretty common in NU, both with strong Flying STAB moves. Scolipede deserves a special mention because while its cleaner set is somewhat viable in lower tiers, it’s is ability to pass speed boosts what makes him a threat. What makes him so effective at it is its great support movepool and good speed tier. It can even act as a suicide lead with Spikes, Toxic Spikes and Endeavor.
Finally, an archetype that caught popularity last gen midway through ORAS metagame is Shed Stall. Obviously this include Shedinja as part of the main core. Typically, M-Sableye and Dugtrio support Shedinja and the three form what it is –infamously- called the “Wonder Trio”. Many variations have appeared since Branflakes’ team but all contain those three pokemon. In addition to Sableye’s Magic Bounce, Shedinja requires a defogger and the trapping abilities of Dugtrio to remove Stealth Rockers and potential stall breakers. Baton Pass Shedinja gives the team necessary momentum to not be out-pressured by the opponent, a common tactic used against stall.
Tips and Tricks
First I’ll share a cool core that although illegal at the moment, will soon be really fun to use.
OU Core (coming soon)
Mega Beedrill @ Beedrillite
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
– Drill Run
– Knock Off
– Poison Jab
Pheromosa @ Life Orb
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
– Ice Beam
– Poison Jab/Rapid Spin
– High Jump Kick
This core is ridiculous but really easy to use. Literally just U-Turn out and bring in a counter to your opponent switch in. These two complement each other nicely both being able to take out fairies not named Magearna. Pheromosa’s Ice Beam hits most physical walls really hard and has a powerful fighting STAB move against steel mons. With the new mechanics, Beedrill does not need to use Protect, and has an amazing Speed tier only surpassed by M-Alakazam who, in turn, is outsped by the trollish 151 Spe of Pheromosa. Pair these up with Spikes and a rapid spinner and U-Turn your way to victory!
Buzzwole @ Fightinium Z/Leftovers
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Ice Punch/Stone Edge
– Focus Punch
Heracross @ Choice Scarf
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
– Close Combat
– Stone Edge
This core is a nice one-two punch that helps a lot versus a steel oriented metagame. Buzzwole takes care of bulkier mons like Ferrothorn, Skarmory or Gliscor and Heracross cleans late game and removes Psychic types. Very simple yet very effective. The choice of Z-Fightium over Leftovers depends on the team and whether you want a nuke available or the staying power of passive recovery.
Finally a standard M-Pinsir web support core
Sticky Web Offense Core
Shuckle @ Mental Herb
EVs: 248 HP / 8 Def / 252 SpD
– Stealth Rock
– Sticky Web
– Knock Off/Infestation
Pinsir @ Pinsirite
Ability: Hyper Cutter
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
– Swords Dance
– Earthquake/Close Combat
– Quick Attack
Extremely simple and straightforward, set up sticky web and win. But seriously, most of the time you will apply great pressure to keep webs up which will enable a M-Pinsir sweep. The choice of Close Combat over Earthquake is up to you and depends on the rest of your teammembers. Close Combat hits Rotom-W, Skarmory and Celesteela. Earthquake hits Magearna, Toxapex and Jirachi harder.
As you can see, Bug Pokemon offer different offensive options and often times they immolate themselves for the greater good, opening up the path for the swarm to demolish the opponent. With powerful sweepers and good support Pokemon, it takes a bit of skill to get used to play around their weaknesses, but the journey to master bugs is certainly a fun one!